David in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Ilze Kitshoff
|Birth name||Karen Shenaz David|
April 15, 1979 |
Shillong, Meghalaya, India
|Occupations||Actress, singer, songwriter|
Karen Shenaz David (born April 15, 1979), is a Canadian-British actress, singer and songwriter, who is best known for portraying Francesca "Cesca" Montoya in the BBC television series, Waterloo Road, and Layla in the American action film, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior.
David also starred in Pixelface, a CBBC children's television series, where she plays Alexia, the glamorous legend hunter.
She made one appearance as Kayla Graham in the Fox television series Touch, with Kiefer Sutherland and Danny Glover. She performed "Three Little Birds", as Graham in the show, which was then released as a soundtrack single, with Wendy & Lisa, on iTunes by 20th Century Fox TV Records on February 28, 2012.
She has recently released a new EP, Dust to Stars, which consists of five songs; Kaleidoscope, Dust to Stars, Heartstrings, Connected and Daydreamer. This EP is available to download on iTunes and all other major digital stores.
- 1 Career
- 2 Charity work
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Filmography
- 5 Music videos and live performances
- 6 References
- 7 External links
At age 17, David won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied jazz and gospel. It was here that she discovered a flair for songwriting. A few years later, David moved to London to study at the Guildford School of Acting.
At age 20, upon finishing drama school, Benny Andersson immediately asked David to join the original cast of Mamma Mia! (a West End hit musical). This was her professional acting debut as part of the ‘glorified ensemble’ and understudy of Ali and Lisa. A. R. Rahman was invited to see the show by the director Shekhar Kapur, which then opened new doors for David. He asked her to assist himself and Don Black in the development of the material for Bombay Dreams (a Bollywood-themed musical). She was rewarded with an invitation to perform some of the songs on stage in his highly acclaimed sell-out US and Canada tour. This was the beginning of a strong friendship which lead to them writing and recording a wide range of material together at his Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios in Chennai, India.
In 2000 she takes the vocals of the massive hit 'Higher and Higher' from DJ Jurgen. She is also present in the videoclip.
She appeared in two short television videos, Dancers: The Trailer (2002), playing the role of Jenny and The Paper Round (2002), playing the role of a policewoman. She then landed a role in Bollywood Queen (2003), which, according to Director, Jeremy Woods, is a "cross-cultural young London romance set in the East End against the backdrop of the clothing trade". The musical is about an Indian teenage girl called Geena, a kind, well-behaved daughter who is, however, also a British woman who dreams to make it big with the R'n'B girlband she has formed with her two best friends, Anjali and Neeta (played by David).
In 2003, David made a one-off guest appearance on Holby City "Oedipus Wrecks" as Eve Hotton, an underweight pregnant woman, who went into labour so David had to act out the breaking of her waters and the pushing out of the baby. Through the years of 2004 and 2005, she landed the role of Scarlet in MTV's Top Buzzer, also on Channel 5. This was the first ‘dope opera’ produced and consisted of ten episodes. The programme was about two drug dealers and their various clients. She next appeared in Batman Begins (2005), as Courthouse Reporter #1.
David's first role in 2006 was Lyla; a main character in Take 3 Girls (2006). Take 3 Girls is a London-based film about three girls who share a dream; making something of their lives through music. Lyla is a beautiful Indian girl, who has the voice of an angel. The three girls form a band and, together, with the help of a failed businessman and his wife, follow their dream and turn it into reality.
David was given a supporting cameo in the hard-hitting movie Provoked (2006) as Asha, one of three South Asian social workers who are running an under-funded organisation called "Southall Black Sisters". This organisation supports abused women. During this film, she worked alongside the likes of Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Miranda Richardson and Robbie Coltrane.
She also appeared in several feature films, including Steven Seagal's Flight of Fury (2007) as Barnes' Operational Soldier Flanders, The Colour of Magic (2008) as the warrior princess, Liessa the Dragonlady, where she was filming alongside Sir David Jason, Sean Astin, Tim Curry and Jeremy Irons, in the SKY TV movie adaptation of the Terry Pratchett novel, as well as The Legend of Dick and Dom (2009) as Fairy Frampton and Couples Retreat as the Spa Attendant.
David appeared as the female lead in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008), in Cape Town, South Africa, where she played the beautiful and feisty Layla, who wants more than anything to be a warrior. She proves she can fight her own battles when she embarks on a trip to Egypt with Mathayus to avenge his father's death.
September 2010 brought David back to screens in Series 6 of BBC One’s award winning drama, Waterloo Road. She played the Spanish teacher, Francesca "Cesca" Montoya. In part 2 of series 6, Cesca landed herself in hot water when she developed feelings for her A-level Spanish student, Jonah Kirby. As their forbidden relationship progressed, senior staff members found out, which made it impossible for Cesca not to come clean. However, Cesca and Jonah were not prepared to give up on one another; episode 20 saw them tie the knot at Gretna Green - although the happiness was short-lived when police officers turned up at the scene to arrest Cesca. The series ended with Cesca and Jonah being taken away in separate police cars.
Whilst Waterloo Road was still airing, Pixelface (a new CBBC children's comedy series produced by Graham Norton’s company, So Television) started in mid February. David landed the role of the legend hunter, Alexia Alderton. The programme is centred around six video game characters and what they do when they are not inside their games. Series one has now ended and the repeats are being shown every Saturday at 8:05am on BBC2. The second series of Pixelface began airing on Jan 3, 2012.
In 2011, David appeared as a flirtatious barmaid in Strike Back: Project Dawn, a 10 part action television series by Sky. The cast included Sullivan Stapleton, Richard Armitage and Philip Winchester. The series follows the actions of Section 20, a secret branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), particularly two of its officers, Michael Stonebridge (Winchester) and former American Delta Force operative Damian Scott (Stapleton).
The new Fox television series Touch brought David back in 2012 with a role as Kayla Graham. She appeared with well-known Hollywood actors Kiefer Sutherland and Danny Glover. The series centers on a ten-year-old mute, autistic boy who can only communicate through sequences and numbers and who develops the ability to predict the future of people's lives—including Graham's. The world premiere of Touch was on March 22, 2012, however a special one-hour preview aired on January 25, 2012, on Fox in North America and on Global Television in Canada, and aired on March 20, 2012, on Sky1 in the UK.
On January 18, 2013, David was injured whilst filming an episode for the fifth season of ABC series, Castle. She was injured along with a stuntman when the door to the moving van she was in failed to close properly; David was released from hospital later on, though still with "serious pain" and needing to wear a neck brace, while the stuntman sustained serious head injuries.
David appeared in the first episode of a two-part story arc, 'Target', on ABC TV series, Castle, as Sara El-Masri, on February 18, 2013, in the USA. As stated by Examiner, the ratings for this episode took a huge leap and won the time slot with 9.6 million viewers. It also claimed the title of the most watched drama overall on a Monday night. David also appeared in the second episode of this two-part storyline, on February 25, 2013, in the USA. The fifth season of Castle is due to begin airing in the UK on March 20, 2013.
David will next be seen on our screens in December, 2013. She has landed a cameo in the new Jack Ryan movie, alongside the likes of Keira Knightley, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh and Colm Feore. David will be playing Penn, an FBI Agent; in order to prepare for this role, David was provided with firearms weapon training. Jack Ryan is due for release in the USA on December 25, 2013, and in the UK on December 26, 2013.
After seeing David appear on Jack Ryan, we will then see her on our screens playing the role of Meera, in Amar, Akbar and Tony. This is a Bollywood comedy about the lives of three best friends; a Sikh, Muslim and an Irishman. This film is due for release in 2014. 
David was the lead vocalist in Dutch dance musician/producer DJ Jurgen's single "Higher and Higher", which she recorded at the start of her music career in 2000.
She released her first single "It's Me (You're Talking To)" in 2003, when she was signed to BMG Music. This single was a top 10 airplay hit in three different countries - Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
David collaborated with A. R. Rahman on the main theme song for the film Provoked in 2006. After working alongside Rahman to produce the soundtrack for this movie, she found herself back with him in his Chennai studio, in 2007, to write and record the song, "Alive". This theme song captures the essence of the infamous story of the abused woman, Kiranjit Ahluwalia, who refused to be defeated.
April, 2008, saw David release her first EP, The Live Sessions EP. It included five songs and one bonus track, these are - "Magic Carpet Ride", "Carry Me Home", "All I Need", "Pink Glasses" and "Shillong, Shillong", with the bonus track being an instrumental version of "All I Need".
On June 29, 2009, David released her Magic Carpet Ride EP, along with a further four mixes. The four mixes were entitled, "A Nucleya Mix", "Johnny Douglas Radio Mix", "The Pathaan Flying Mix2" and "DJ Shadow Dubai & DJ Dev Remix". The EP included, "Flip and Spin Flavasia Desi", "Urban Mix", "Flip and Spin Upfront DJ Mix" and "Flip and Spin DJ Club Mix".
May, 2010, saw David release the single "Hypnotize", along with three mixes and a Hypnotize Desi Mix EP. The three mixes were, "Tripnotize", "Radio Version" and "Niros Mix" and the Desi Mix EP included, "Radio Version", "Tripnotize" and "The Stranger Mix". Her "Hypnotize" music video was released in April 2010.
David recorded songs for her new music concept The Girl In The Pink Glasses, in 2011. The songs are called, "Push", "Superheroes", "My Inner Freak", "Tom, Dick or Harry", "Catch Me If You Can", "Chinese Whispers", "Pinky Square" and "Slow Motion". David released "Superheroes" on June 6, 2011, however the rest have yet to be released.
20th Century Fox TV Records released "Three Little Birds", as sung by Kayla Graham (David), on Touch, on iTunes, on February 28, 2012. It was released worldwide, as a soundtrack single, with Wendy & Lisa.
David has recently launched her new Dust to Stars EP, on which she collaborated with the likes of songwriter-producers, Stefan Skarbek, Greg Wells, Carl Ryden, Boots Ottestad, Adam Argyle and Martin Brammer. This EP consists of five song; the title track Dust to Stars, Kaleidoscope, Heartstrings, Connected and Daydreamer.
Along with this EP, two music videos were launched. These were for the title track, Dust to Stars and "happy, feel-good song", Daydreamer.
David produced a t-shirt to raise money for ActionAid's PoverTee Day, which was auctioned off on June 18, 2010.
In early December, 2010, David released a charity Christmas EP, entitled My Christmas List, in order to raise money for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter. This EP included cover songs of "Silent Night", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", "Grown Up Christmas" and "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire".
Along with many other celebrities, David recently painted a one-off self-portrait for Face Britain (a unique project created by The Prince's Trust Foundation), which, after ten days, was auctioned off at £225, with a history of fifty-nine bidders. All proceeds went to The Prince's Trust Foundation.
She is a Canadian and British citizen. Shillong is one of the few remaining matriarchal societies left in the world.
|2014||Amar, Akbar and Tony (not yet released)||Meera|
|2013||Jack Ryan (not yet released)||Penn|
|2009||Couples Retreat||Spa Attendant|
|2008||The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior||Layla|
|The Colour of Magic||Liessa|
|2007||Flight of Fury||Barnes's Operational Soldier Flanders|
|2006||Take 3 Girls||Lyla|
|2005||Batman Begins||Courthouse Reporter #1|
|2013||Castle||Sara El-Masri||2 episodes:
"Target" (season 5: episode 15)
"Hunt" (season 5: episode 16)
|2012||Touch||Kayla Graham||1 episode|
|2011-12||Pixelface||Alexia||Main role, 26 episodes|
|2011||Strike Back: Project Dawn||Barmaid||2 episodes:
"Project Dawn #1" (season 2: episode 1)
"Project Dawn #2" (season 2: episode 2)
|2010-11||Waterloo Road||Francesca "Cesca" Montoya||Regular role, 20 episodes|
|2009||The Legend of Dick and Dom||Fairy Frampton||1 episode|
|2004||Top Buzzer||Scarlet||1 episode|
|2003||Holby City||Eve Hotton||1 episode|
|2002||Dancers: The Trailer||Jenny|
|The Paper Round||Police Woman|
|2008||The Making of The Scorpion King 2: The Rise of a Warrior (video documentary short)||Herself|
|2005||Eureka (commercial)||Police Woman|
|2003||The Making of Bollywood Queen (video documentary)||Herself|
Music videos and live performances
|Aug 2013||Dust to Stars on YouTube|
|July 2013||Daydreamer on YouTube|
|Jun 2011||Superheroes on YouTube|
|Apr 2010||Hypnotize on YouTube|
|Jun 2009||Magic Carpet Ride on YouTube|
|Jun 2007||Alive on YouTube|
|2003||It's Me (You're Talking To) on YouTube|
|2000||Higher and Higher on YouTube|
|Sep 2010||Hypnotize : The Almighty Mix on YouTube|
|Sep 2010||Hypnotize : The Definitive Radio Mix on YouTube|
|Jul 2009||Magic Carpet Ride : Flavasia Desi Mix on YouTube|
|Jul 2009||Magic Carpet Ride : Radio edit on YouTube|
|Aug 23, 2013||Superheroes on YouTube||St Pancras Old Church|
|Aug 23, 2013||Kaleidoscope on YouTube||St Pancras Old Church|
|Aug 23, 2013||Heartstrings on YouTube||St Pancras Old Church|
|Aug 23, 2013||Connected on YouTube||St Pancras Old Church|
|Aug 23, 2013||Dust to Stars on YouTube||St Pancras Old Church|
|Jun 7, 2011||Superheroes on YouTube||Soho Theatre London|
|Jun 7, 2011||Slow Motion on YouTube||Soho Theatre London|
|Jun 7, 2011||Pinky Square on YouTube||Soho Theatre London|
|Jun 7, 2011||Tom, Dick or Harry on YouTube||Soho Theatre London|
|Jun 7, 2011||Chinese Whispers on YouTube||Soho Theatre London|
|Mar 31, 2011||Superheroes||The London Canal Cafe|
|Nov 30, 2010||Pink Glasses on YouTube||Rich Mix London|
|Nov 30, 2010||Hypnotize on YouTube||Rich Mix London|
|May 30, 2010||Hypnotize||Indig02 Arena|
|Jun 1, 2008||Pink Glasses on YouTube||Wychwood Festival|
|Jan, 2008||Magic Carpet Ride on YouTube||Royal Festival Hall|
|Feb, 2012||Touch - "Three Little Birds" on YouTube|
|Dec, 2010||Silent Night (ft. Navin Kundra) on YouTube|
|Dec, 2010||Baby It's Cold Outside (ft. Philip Martin Brown) on YouTube|
|Apr, 2010||Hypnotize on YouTube|
|May, 2009||Magic Carpet Ride on YouTube|
|Mar, 2009||The Chennai Sessions on YouTube|
- Kayla Graham at the Internet Movie Database
- Fox Broadcasting (February 28, 2012). Touch-"Three Little Birds" ('Making of' video). Fox Broadcasting. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- Hainsworth, Jay (Aug 19, 2008). "She puts the "sting" back in Scorpion King". IGN.
- Sciarretto, Amy (Aug 19, 2008). "Karen David of 'The Scorpion King 2'". ARTISTdirect.
- Hoffman, Jordan (Aug 18, 2008). "Karen David Fights!". UGO.
- Kirkland, Bruce (Aug 18, 2008). "Scorpion King 2 interview". Jam.
- Bendal, Joe (Aug 11, 2011). "Strike Back review". The Epoch Times.
- "Waterloo Road star Karen David on blockbusters, bullies and Bollywood". The Evening Standard. Apr 11, 2011.
- Official website
- Karen David at the Internet Movie Database
- Karen David on Facebook
- Karen David on Twitter
- Etobicoke Guardian Interview